October 31, 2012

Sandy Closes University Offices in New York City

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While Cornell’s Ithaca campus was left largely unscathed by superstorm Sandy, some of the University’s facilities in New York City were damaged or left without power in the wake of the storm, according to an email President David Skorton sent out to the Cornell community Wednesday afternoon.

Some of the University’s offices in the city’s five boroughs were damaged by the storm, which made landfall as a category 1 hurricane on the Jersey Shore Monday night. Sandy caused at least $20 billion in damages and killed at least 62 people in more than a dozen states, according to Fox News.

Among the affected facilities were the NYC offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, as well as the Google office that currently houses CornellNYC Tech. The buildings have suffered from power outages and in some cases damage, Skorton said.

According to Donald Tobias, executive director of CCE in NYC, CCE offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens suffered no damage or flooding during the storm and will reopen Thursday. However, the main office on East 34th Street in Manhattan will remain closed because of ongoing power outages in that area of the city.

Still, the NYC offices of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations — also located on East 34th — are scheduled to reopen Thursday after suffering power outages caused by the storm, Skorton said.

Additionally, the NYC offices of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering — at 55 Broad — in lower Manhattan, were flooded and left without power. The building will remain closed for the rest of the week while officials look for alternative classroom space in other Cornell offices or private spaces, according to Prof. Adrian Lewis, director of the ORIE school.

Despite the damage, Skorton said faculty, staff and students in the city were “doing well” and making the necessary arrangements to reopen their facilities.

Weill Cornell Medical Center, which was closed Tuesday except for “essential services,” resumed normal operations Wednesday. In his email, Skorton credited the WCMC staff for monitoring the impact of the storm on the school throughout Monday night and Tuesday.

“Thanks to the efforts of the emergency operations team and staff who responded around the clock, power was maintained, patients were cared for and the college suffered only minimal damage,” Skorton said.

Like the Ithaca campus, Cornell’s facilities in other areas of upstate New York were not significantly damaged. CCE offices outside of NYC did not report any problems and remained open after the storm, Skorton wrote.

The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva was unharmed, although the station’s facility on Long Island did suffer “power outages, downed trees and telephone lines, and some damage to greenhouse windows,” Skorton said.

The Cornell in Washington building in Washington, D.C., which was hit more directly by the storm than upstate New York facilities, was also unharmed.After “extensive pre-storm preparations,” the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine was also left unscathed, Skorton said.

The GHESKIO health clinic in Port au Prince, Haiti, which is operated by WCMC, was in the direct path of Hurricane Sandy and experienced some flooding, but is now fully operational.

In his email, Skorton announced the launch of a new blog, Cornell Disaster Relief and Outreach, which he said will “facilitate communication” among students, faculty and staff affected by the storm.

Emma Court contributed reporting to this article.

Original Author: David Marten